Day 075 – beware of VISA OFFICE (or how to arrange visa in easy 27 steps?)

I had a culture shock today, a BIG one…

My visa are being arranged for the last two and half months. I got only single entry visas for 3 months and thus my trip to IC to Istanbul was in big jeopardy… So the last chance was to go personally to the visa office in Karachi and hunt it down on my own… Mostly when I wanted to fly the same day (15.9.)

That experience was really sick

The visa office is actually a small village with maybe 20 houses in which are maybe 100 offices in which “work” maybe 150 people… To get one sticker=visa I had to:
1. ask a guy who tries to sell us visa (You give hime 5times more than normal fee and he does it not in three weeks but three hours, no bribing, just having good “friends” whom he gives gifts)
2. random guard, ask where is the office we look for
3. random guy, ask again where is the office
4. find first clerk who sends us to second clerk
5. second clerk, we ask if he got fax from Islamabad (my only chance to get visa now)
6. waiting outside
7. we ask second clerk again
8. waiting outside
9. second clerk gets fax
10. being send to third clerk who checks the docs and says it costs 600 Rupees (10 USD), I take wallet out to pay, he says that You have to pay in bank
11. running to bank (office closes in 10 minutes), go to window, bank guy says we need special paper from the visa office
12. approaching the same guard as at beginning, he sends us to fourth clerk
13. fourth clerk pissed of that people go into his office, after being able to be louder than him and making him realize that he is the only one who has the paper, he digs deep into some shelf, where is book, where is one crumpled paper that he gives us
14. bank again… pay 600 rupees
15. third clerk again, looks again an says that it takes three days to do the visa after some beging sais that one day…. I say I fly tonight… he says: “show me ticket”
16. calling Nida, to call the travel agent to book the ticket for tonight and fax it to first clerk
17. waiting outside office of second clerk for him to get a fax
18. asking second clerk if he got fax
19. waiting
20. second clerk gets fax…. wrong document… second clerk starting to be heavily pissed off
23. call travel agent to send right document
24. waiting, its after closing time, checking if third clerk is still here and if second clerk got the fax, second clerk heavily pissed off
25. second clerk gets right fax
26. we run to third clerk who looks at the docs, puts a sticker and sends us to
27. fifth clerk to give a stamp

(actual visa giving process took 15 minutes, including short interview about who am I, where do I work and where do I go)

And this was after we got confirmation from Islamabad, that I can actually have the visa…

…………………………. try to get people here to help build the country !!!!

PS: thank You Taha… Thank You for Your endless patience and high speed Urdu :)

PS 2: 12 hours after getting visa, I am flying to Istanbul :D

PS 3: I have NGO visa, making visa for “normal” workers is much easier

PS 4: I still love it here, just another chapter of the experience…

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